Five year anniversary of invasion of Iraq:
Yes, it was a mistake. Yes, it was unwarranted. Yes, it was the result of lies (WMD, al Qaeda connection).
But the striking fact at this point is that there is no exit plan
. None whatsoever. It's been 130,000 (or more) troops in there "keeping the peace" while there has been no significant political progress. It's true that violence is down in the last six months, but that's often the case when occupying armies stick around, and it does not indicate that the underlying tensions are vanquished.
While attacking Bush for his actions leading to this point is enrirely valid, it might be mose useful (politically) to demand that he outline a credible plan to get out. He can't, of course, since invading Iraq was essentially hitting a hornet's nest. But for all the legitimate criticism of Bush taking the country to war, an even bigger one is his failure to end it.
It certainly looks like they always intended to have a heavy military presence there, with the massive embassy compound in Baghdad. In 2004 the Chicago Tribune reported that the military planned to operate 14 long term bases, for "at least 2 years." Bases currently in Saudi Arabia may be moved to Iraq. There's no reason to believe that the US is not actively seeking strategic advantage and the means to project force in the region.
Personally, I think it's all part of the Grover Norquist "Starve the Beast" plan. Republicans know that Demomcrats will eventually come back into power and that the surest way to prevent Democrats from advancing any of their agendas (especially domestic programs) is to make sure the government has no money to spend on such programs. Ballooning the deficit through the war and weakening the dollar accomplishes this nicely. If elected, Obama or Hillary will have barely straightened things out before their term is up and then the Republicans can turn up the Wurlitzer (Gays, taxes, terrorists!) and win the next election and start the process all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.